How to Measure Your Marketing Efforts

How do you know if your marketing is working? Let me tell you: a gut feel wont tell you enough. With limited resources, its critical to measure your marketing activities. Its the only way youll know which of your marketing efforts are most effective, and which you should stop doing altogether. In fact, having a set of defined metrics is the only way youll know how much your marketing is moving the needle.

Being able to define your success as well as understand it will help in many ways. Its likely that your board of trustees or public stakeholders have already asked for metrics. If not, its time to be proactive, and put a few in place.

Your marketing plan is your starting point. The plan should define your goals and objectives. As I mentioned in an earlier post, objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timebound). The next step is to measure activities that correlate to each objective.

Here are a few methods of measurement to consider.

Perceptions and awareness. Public relations and marketing are both used to create awareness and understanding. To accurately measure the effectiveness of either, youll need to start by doing some research, usually either through a survey or qualitative interviews.

  • Surveys can be developed using SurveyMonkey and sent to your email list. However, to accurately assess how the entire community views your public library, youll need to distribute the survey more widely.  (In a past blog post I discussed Tips for Creating an Effective Survey)
  • Consider conducting qualitative interviews, or in-depth conversations, with 18-20 people about their experiences and opinions. The advantage of a qualitative interview is that it permits you to dig a bit deeper into why people feel the way they do. The disadvantage is that the results may not be representative of the full population of library stakeholders.

Email marketing. According to HubSpot, an inbound marketing company, the most important measures are:

  • Click-through rates, which measures how many people receiving your email clicked on the links in your newsletter;
  • Conversion rates, which tells you the percentage of email recipients who clicked on the link and then took an action, such as completing a form on your Web site.

Web site. Key metrics are numbers of unique visitors to your site, the pages they visit, and how long they stay. This information can be gathered by installing Google Analytics on your site.

  • Unique visitors are defined as the number of individual visitors, not counting repeat visits. 
  • Measuring the pages they visit and understanding those they dont helps you understand which content is relevant and engaging.
  • Length of visit enables you to focus your resources on content that is driving traffic.

Hubspot offers a clear explanation of these metrics and more in its free ebook Introductory Guide to Inbound Marketing Analytics.

Whatever you choose to measure, you should always start with a benchmark or baseline measurement. Youll then be able to compare the benchmark with data that you collect after you run a campaign or two. With a concerted marketing effort and a few adjustments here and there, youll soon start to see an upward trend.

About Tiffany McClary

Tiffany McClary is the Director of Communications, Marketing & Outreach for the New Jersey State Library. She coordinates marketing and public relations initiatives in order to enhance the reputation of the State Library, and promote the value of NJ libraries and the services and programs that they provide to residents.